【Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare】Limiting the Hospitalization to Elderly and Others – Government to Revise Ordinance for Designated Infectious Diseases

2020年10月19日 (月)

Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare is revising the ordinance to make COVID-19 as a designated infectious disease and is adapting the measure to limit the hospitalization to the elderly, 65 years and older, and those patients with chronic diseases starting on the 24th. Currently, the hospitalization measure is taken even for patients with minor symptoms and patients with no symptoms, but they considered avoiding the tense, critical situation in the medical field. As of the 14th, the revised ordinance will be issued and, at the same time, they requested the prefectures to inform medical and other institutions.

Those eligible for the counsel and measure of hospitalization are COVID-19 patients with moderate to severe symptoms as well as elderly patients, 65 years and older, with respiratory diseases, patients with chronic diseases such as kidney diseases, diabetes, and such, patients with immune depression, and pregnant women. Those have been deemed by either the doctor or the prefectural governor to need hospitalization are also included.

In addition, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare decided that, starting on the 14th when the revised ordinance will be issued, it will not be necessary to make notification to the prefectural governor based on the Infectious Disease Law for those patients deemed not to need hospitalization after the medical examination of the patients suspected of being infected with COVID-19.

The discrimination between seasonal influenza and COVID-19 is clinically difficult, and they said this is the countermeasure to avoid the rapid increase of patients suspected of being infected with COVID-19 as we enter a season when influenza becomes prevalent.

Based on the Infectious Disease Law, COVID-19 is categorized as a designated infectious disease, which makes it possible to take measures to hospitalize those patients suspected of being infected and for the medical expenses to be paid by the public.

However, the task force at the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare have been making progress to revise the current measure, taking into consideration the increasing workload at the medical institutions and public health care centers, which were actually taking hospitalization measures even for those with minor symptoms or with no symptoms, in principle require only treatment at home, hotels and so on.

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